Game of Life

The deed is done. I couldn’t be in the room, and I was still traumatized by being brought a bloody-mouthed baby after the procedure. She was inconsolable at first, refused the boob, but eventually took the bottle. That night was scary hard until a friend came by and did some cranial sacral work on Josie. She calmed down enough to eat and sleep a little after that. The next morning, we went to see the lactation consultant who suggested the frenotomy. She showed us how to stretch beneath the upper lip and under the tongue so that the wounds didn’t heal back into place. She also showed us some exercises to get J’s tongue moving around and strong. I wanted nothing to do with any of it.

We also played the get-her-to-eat-and-weigh-her-every-five-minutes game, which I hate. She never takes the boob well on command and so the weighing shows she eats very little. Then we get to hear things like “Well, she eats very slowly and on the lower end of what we like to see” or “Since last time she seems to have only gained a half ounce per day, and we like to see babies gaining about an ounce at day.” So what am I supposed to do with this information besides worry??? It’s not for a lack of trying! To her credit, the lactation consultant was very good with Josie and excellent about checking in and following up on questions. When I called her crying about my flow disappearing, she called back right away and talked me down. She definitely knows her stuff — even if I don’t like needing the help.

While I’m glad if the procedure makes her future life better, it doesn’t seem to have changed our feeding experiences… yet. She cries as much as ever when put to the boob and fusses on the bottle and pretty much the rest of the day too if not unconscious. I’m not saying we don’t get any smiles all day long, but she just seems despondent, miserable, hurting(?), etc. most of the time.

I feel like I’m in a video game where you have to bank a certain amount of energy by feeding this baby. The pitfalls are many. You chase the baby through the maze, and sometimes she stops and sips but mostly she runs away. And sometimes she eats but kicks and wiggles and fusses so hard that she is draining the energy stores as fast as they’re gaining. The worst part is that there isn’t a Game Over reset at the end of each day; you start out a little further behind all the time. The stress of never catching up, of never getting close to the minimum 24 ounces a day into the baby then depletes your own energy stores and that effects your milk supply. It’s a really shitty video game.

I can put this into perspective as well as anyone: we are not in a war-torn country, she does not have a hole in her heart, and we are still both at home with her. And yet.

I was so hoping against all the fear that the frenotomies would help immediately, that Josie would eat better, and all would be right with the world overnight. K and I look at each other sometimes, to the soundtrack of screaming, with such terror — it’s the complete responsibility and complete helplessness. We had heard there’d be months like this, but please… Seriously, please please please.

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2 Responses to “Game of Life”


  1. 1 angelabartlett@gmail.com March 6, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Malka and Kristy,
    I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through this horrible time right now. I know how awful you feel because I have felt it myself. Elliott has technically had “failure to thrive” since he was a tiny infant. When he was Josie’s age, he had all sorts of problems with his digestion and he couldn’t poop or eat and he screamed all of the time and seemed to twist up in pain. He ended up having a casein allergy. After a lot of struggling, I ultimately ended up not making enough milk and we had to move him to formula, one called Nutramigen that is expensive and for kids with severe allergies. He actually took to it really well, even though it is really gross smelling and tasting. He eats a lot now, but he is still underweight and doctors and nutritionists and strangers question us all of the time about why he’s so skinny. We’ve had everything checked out and come up with nothing. But at least he is growing and old enough to talk to us now, so that makes things a lot easier. All I can say is that you just have to keep working really hard to get as much food into her as you can and to figure out what the problem might be. I know you are very, very tired, but you will pull through this. I wish we were up there so we could help. 😦

    • 2 mamawannabe March 7, 2012 at 4:16 am

      Thanks Ang. It helps to hear that/how others dealt with it. Do you remember what other allergies besides casein Elliott was tested for? I already don’t eat dairy or gluten, so I’m wondering what the professionals would test for next.


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